Step 9-11: Horn, Carb controls

I got distracted by the fender business, so this posting backs up about a month to pick up the action.  I’m going back to the steps required to remove the engine.

Step 9, to remove the wires from the generator, can be skipped entirely because the generator is already out, so the horn is next.  Officially the instructions say to disconnect the horn wires, but one wire is completely off, and the other, while on the horn, is hanging free.  The mounting bracket bolts through the fender skirt.

I decided to simply remove the horn from the fender skirt entirely, since doing so will eventually allow me to remove the left fender with minimal of trouble, so a couple of twists with a wrench and it was off.  It goes into a box being stored in the bed of the truck for the time being.

The next step, to disconnect the choke and throttle cables, was a little more involved.  Mostly the difficulty came because both wires come into the back of the carburator, and because there is not a lot of space between the cowl panel (at least, not in 1949 terms; I’m sure a modern mechanic would love to have the free space available in this engine compartment).

First, the air cleaner has to come off the top of the carburator.  That’s easy, requiring only a flat screwdriver to disconnect the collar holding it in place.


Disconnecting the cables wasn’t a problem.  Each had a screw that held the cable in place on the appropriate moving carburetor part.  Whether they’ll work later when I put everything together—that’s another question entirely.



Interruption: Grille and—hey, catch that!

This post will be a bit longer, because a couple of bolts make a lot of difference, and because over the past month I’ve been wrestling with other matters requiring undivided attention.  Let me tell you about the bolts.

There is plenty to do with the engine still, but I was getting a bit worried about the chance of damaging something while hanging over the grille.  The obvious answer was to take off the grille.  That should not be a problem, because everything else—fender skirt, fenders, cab, and frame—all bolt together as well.  That can be a problem as well as an asset because the bolts have to be found.  Here’s what happened.

Back when I pulled the baffle, you’ll recall that I snapped off the bolt heads on either side.  These bolt through the inside front corner of the fender and thread into a plate welded to the inside of the top of the grille, pinning everything together.


Snapped bolt body from the baffle in the grille top, on the passenger side

Like most auto-body parts, the grille is a composite.  There are vertical supports on the inside that maintain spacing, there are the horizontal members that make up the visible part, and at the end, hidden inside, are vertical pieces which the fenders bolt into, three on a side.  You can see them below.


2018apr22-6I wanted to remove the broken bolts and got out the bolt remover, but after dousing both with penetrating oil, figured it was just time to pull the grille off the truck.

First off I put the front end up on jack stands and pulled off the front wheels.  That gave me access to the lower edges of the fender skirts where it bolts to the frame.

The next step was to remove the side bolts from the grille, where the grille and fenders are bolted together.   There are three on each side that have to be removed individually.  with the bolts out, it was a simple matter to lift and wiggle the grille free.  I got the picture—and then the right fender fell off.

Well, I guess I now know why Green always rattled like an old truck.

Turns out the right fender was bolted only to the grille, held in place with the fender support rod.  No bolts holding it to the frame or to the cab cowl.  I knew things flopped around a bit, but I didn’t know it was that bad.

Don’t have too many pictures of that learning experience, I was too busy grabbing at falling sheet metal.  Hollered at Son 4 to capture what you see here.  Supporting the fender with my left hand, I had to disconnect the fender support rod immediately to keep something from breaking.  Quickly took off the terminal block for the lights on the right side as well.

So now I really have access to the motor.  Unfortunately in the fall I also lost the chance to take a good photo of the terminal block for the lights on the right side.  I’ll have to figure out those details when I get to it.



Interlude: Clever device

This weekend I took the first-year Boy Scouts on an overnight camp and hike, so I have had no time to work on the Green Truck.

I’ll use this as an opportunity for a digression.  Working on Green awhile ago, Dear brought me a new toy, a nifty Nebo Leo flashlight.  I have to say I rather like this.  A magnet on one end allows it to attach to any steel plate (which is useful in Green); the same end has a folding clip that allows it to hang on a lip or a wire, which would make it a good camping device.

There are two LED lights, both at the end of a folding piece.  One is a floodlight, the other is a directional pen light.  The lights occupy the side and top of a swivel, which means it can point quite nicely.  The light is not as intense as a shop light, but the LED provides a nice neutral flood that renders colors really well, and I don’t have to hang or hold it.

Good job, Nebo.

Step 8: Fuel line

Step 8 is to disconnect the fuel line from the fuel pump.


As you can see here, the fuel pump is mechanically driven vacuum device, a design created well before the electrical fuel pumps in all vehicles today.  since it operated off of the crank, it sits low on the passenger side of the engine, low on the crankcase, and immediately in front of the crankcase vent tube.  It is also houses the rudimentary fuel filter that fed the engine.


There is a line running from both sides.  On disconnecting the front line—the one that runs from the filter up across the top of the motor to the carburetor—I was surprised to find that there was still a bit of fuel in the pump.  The line in from the left is the one running to the fuel tank.  Unscrewing the compression fitting from either side of the pump required both 7/16″ and 3/8″ combination wrenches to hold the two nuts (look closely).

I also decided that because the engine will be pulled, I might as well remove the pump-to-carburetor fuel line, though it is probably a later step.  Gearheads among you will notice that the line doesn’t look quite the way it should.

I’m sure my uncle spliced in the modern fuel filter. Grandpa certainly didn’t do it, because he left such things to his son and grandsons; I was the only one of the grandsons old enough to do so, and it would have terrified me to cut a fuel line, so Gene (or maybe some anonymous mechanic) must have done it.  Unfortunately that practical adaptation means the original brass line will not be put back onto the truck when everything is reassembled, though it certainly was a part of the vehicle I knew.  Fortunately, I can get a pre-bent new but OEM fuel line.  The compression fitting at the top end was disconnected from the carburetor body, like the lower end had been disconnected from the fuel filter.

You can see on one of the earlier images that middle of the fuel line was held in place with a clip bolted onto the thermostat housing on the top of the engine.  A few twists with the screwdriver and the clip came free.  The bolt and clip went back in place to prevent loss–and there is the disconnected fuel line.





Step 5-7. Coil removal, ground strap disconnect


Yesterday Dear brought by her sister and a couple of cousins. They are heading off to a family R&R.  After supper I had to grab a selfie with Green and James’s mom to use as leverage.  So c’mon, James, bring your honey and come for a working visit.  Your mother has now had a personal experience with the Green Truck; it’s your turn.

Steps 5-7 for pulling the engine begin a short series of about ten-second operations, so I’ll put several together in posts.

Step 5 reads “Disconnect the coil lead from distributor terminal and pull the coil high tension wire from the center of the distributor cap.”  I kept looking at the distributor and could not quite figure out what was wrong, other than the wire to the distributor was disconnected from the bottom of the condenser (coil), which you can see in the photo left below.  I won’t keep you in suspense—notice in the first image that some time in the past someone messed up the wire pattern on the distributor.  Notice where the wires run? The second one shows the high-tension wire as it should be placed from the bottom of the coil to the center of the distributor, and the wire for the n.3 cylinder back in place.

Someone is sure to notice in that second image above that the wire to the condenser coil is back in place (I removed it in the last post). That’s because the photos are out of order.  Sorry.

Spark plug wires are routinely replaced in a tuneup, so I figure pulling and tossing these won’t be an infraction of my solemn vow to maintain OEM (original equipment manufacturer) use.


Step 6 was to remove the coil itself from the passenger side of the engine.  That’s easy, because as you can see here, it simply bolts in place to the head, and fifteen seconds of work with a combination wrench was all it took—until I remembered the wire to the negative pole was still connected to the stud on the side of the distributor.  I found that it required a 11/64 wrench, which I don’t have, but a 6-inch crescent wrench works just fine. So now the coil is off and set aside to clean up later.




Step 7 was another fifteen-second job: removing the bolt from the ground strap from the starter to the vehicle frame; instead, it took nearly two hours.  The bolt goes through the top of the frame and gets plenty of splashed irrigation-ditch mud and dirt-road dust.  Quite simply, the bolt shaft and threads had rusted quite effectively.  I could turn the entire bolt in its hole, but you can see that there was no easy way to hold the bolt head and get the wrench to turn the nut below—especially because it required real torque to break loose and turn the nut through the rust on the bolt shaft.


I could not brace the bolt head from above and at the same time get at the nut from the creeper underneath. I needed another pair of hands, so I press-ganged Daughter 1 who was down for the weekend, for the top job.  She agreed to don the Sweatshirt of Manual Competence and hold the socket wrench, only on the condition that I feature her enabling heroism prominently in The Green Truck blog posting.  Her hand appears above; what greater accolade could she wish?


Step 4c: Starter/coil wiring

The next step in the engine pull will be to dink around disconnecting the wires from the starter, condenser coil, and spark plugs.  I could yank them all off and figure out what goes where when I put things together, but if one is documenting the process, what’s the fun in that?

In the first image below is the starter, set against the bottom of the motor on the passenger side so that it can engage the transmission flywheel to crank the engine to life.  Notice the stud on the top with two wires leading to it?  The thick wire leads from the battery.  The one below it, which runs up and across the engine compartment and high on the firewall, is the ignition-switch cable.  The small wire branching off goes to the coil.

A quick turn or two with the wrench and the wires pull free.

Starter wires 3

Here you can see them in place and removed (I’ll bet you were dying to see that).

The small wire forking from the starter and running out of the image to the condenser coil was even easier, but since it attaches to the negative pole at the bottom of the coil, it wasn’t full of grime and came off easily.

So, that’s the end of step 4.  Only 24 steps left to go—and then disassembly begins.



Step 4b: Battery wires

With the radiator out and the generator removed, the next step specified by the shop manual is:

4. Remove the battery cable and ammeter wire from the starter switch terminal. On vehicles equipped with push button starter [like Green], remove battery and ammeter wire from large terminal on solenoid and starter switch wire from small terminal. Tape ends of battery cable to prevent possibility of shorting.

Now, let’s face it—Green hasn’t turned over in years.  I seriously doubt that there is a single free electron in the battery anywhere.  Digression for personal story.

One day on Hilltop, Grandpa and I climbed in the truck for some errand.  To those of you who remember, it was parked nose-in by the path leading from the house to the corral.  For some reason the starter would not crank at all.  Grandpa was driving and told me to go get the jumper cables and hook up the battery while he went to get his massive white Lincoln (Grandma had the black one), yelling back at me as he shuffled off “it’s under your feet!”  Now, knowing full well what an automotive battery looked like and how it worked, I knew the battery wasn’t under my feet, it was beside the engine.  I got the cables from the garage and raised Green’s hood to hook up the battery.  I looked inside–and couldn’t see a battery anywhere.  Beginning to feel that  Grandpa would think I was an inept city kid, I hunted high and low through the engine compartment.  By this time Grandpa eased up his roaring Lincoln between green and the overgrown fitzer (juniper) bushes that bordered the pasture, expecting me to just hook everything up and get going.  One of the hardest things I ever had to do was to admit to my grandfather that I could not see the battery anywhere.  I felt really embarrassed.  By then I was seated inside, so I closed the door slightly so he could pull the nose of the Lincoln up alongside the passenger door.  Then he shuffled over in his straw hat, smacked my legs with a “git out’th way”, no doubt thinking his oldest grandson was an inept city kid—and moved the passenger-side floor mat (Green had one at that point).  On the floor was a handle for a rectangular pull panel.  I was speechless—the battery was inside the cab after all.

Some time later, I remember, Green got a new battery.  I remember, because I had to heft it into place; Grandpa knew hard work as a farm kid, but Grandpa didn’t heft things at that point in time.  Forty years later, I’m sure this is the same battery.  It will absolutely have to be replaced, so I might as well pull it entirely.  Green has not had a floor mat in decades, so the battery panel is simple enough to find, just inside the passenger door.

The battery is held in place by a frame which is screwed down on either end.  The metal was corroded badly enough that it required a goodly portion of WD-40 to loosen things enough to get the nuts off the threaded rods.  Once that was done, removing the retaining frame was a matter of lifting it off.

My lower back has bothered me for better than a year now, so it was now my turn to get someone younger to do the work.  Son 2 lifted out the battery for me that I am pretty sure I set in place in 1975.  That is a bit of a challenge and I was grateful to leave it to a younger soul.

Notice the knockouts on the top that record the date.  The 5 has been pulled out, so since Green almost certainly did not get a battery in 1985 (no one was spending a dime on him at that point), I’m sure it dates to the encounter described above.

Battery 6


Step 4a: Alternator v. generator

The old Chevrolet in-line six “stovebolt” engines don’t have an alternator to produce current for the vehicle, they have instead a real generator.  It works the same way as an alternator, drawing kinetic energy from a drive belt turned by the crank and turning the pulley wheel at the front of the generator.  The generator was already out of the Green Truck when I got him, but since it would have to be removed at about this point in pulling the engine I might as well talk about it here.

Like other components, the generator has a serial number as well, stamped on a zinc plate that is riveted to the side of the casing.


As nearly as I can make out, the serial number is 1102711x 9H2.  The x stands in place of a character that has been obliterated by a scraping strike to the plate surface.


The generator was reportedly the only recipient of mechanical attention when my uncle had the vehicle parked in his barnyard.  He had taken it out and reportedly had it rebuilt, so the bearings and windings inside run smooth as silk.  However, because it was found on his front porch when I picked up the truck last year (thanks, cousin Shane), I am scrambling to locate the mounting bolts.  I think the ones pictured here, sitting on the fender inside the engine compartment, may be the critters I need.


All three bolts fit in the holes, but one is too short and another is an SAE (or fine thread) without a nut.  That matches the kind of baling-wire maintenance the truck endured, but it means I’ll replace at least one of the bolts so that they at least match.

Anyway, nowhere in the shop manual does it say to remove the generator prior to pulling the engine, but it now sits stored neatly in my tool chest, ready to be re-mounted following the rebuild.

Step 3b: Remove radiator support.

With the radiator out, the next thing was to remove the radiator support or frame.   Both sides are identical, so I’ll show only one.

Rad 8

The radiator removed in Step 3a, showing the radiator support still in place.

At both sides of the frame, near the top, the radiator support has a flange or wings welded to it.  This provide rigidity. and an anchor on a second plane from the bolts that run up the sides.

Support 1

Screws anchoring the radiator support to the fenders (taken before the radiator was removed).

The sides of the radiator support frame are anchored through the fender skirt, which forms the inside of the engine compartment, and into the fender support.  The latter is a metal rib that increases stiffness to a very large expanse of sheet metal.  Years later this would be redesigned, but right now this is what I have to work with.

Support 2

Radiator-support attachment bolts from the inside of the passenger-side fender

The picture here shows the six radiator-support bolts on the passenger side.  There are six just the same on the driver side.  The two bolts near the bottom of the image bolt into the through the skirt and into the radiator support itself.  The two in the center, at the inside end of the fender support, also bolt into the support.

The two bolts at the top of the image—one of which is behind the headlight wiring that comes through the fender skirt wall—are the bolts on the flange shown in the external shot, above.  The bolts thread down, so that the nuts are inside.

Support 3







Even on the creeper, the bolts are a full arm’s-length above me, with my right ear on the tire. No room at all for two arms.

A 7/16-inch socket made short work of removing the bolts.  The nuts at the top were rusted well in place.  A shot of WD-40 helped loosen three of them, but created another problem.

The top bolts are not anchored into anything, so to loosen the nuts I had to keep the bolts from turning.  Through the good offices of Daughter 4, who held a wrench at the top, I got the nuts and washers off of three.  The fourth one was too rusted and simple snapped, so I’ll be replacing at least one bolt and nut set.




With the bolts removed, the frame tipped forward, loose, and could be lifted out.  The base of the support has a plate with two studs that go through similar holes in the frame cross-member.  This holds the support in place and keeps it from sitting directly on the frame.

Everything bolts together to provide mutual support and rigidity.  The radiator support provides an anchor for the fender skirt, which in turn supports the fender.  So I’ve pulled apart the central support and the fenders are getting a little loose—well, looser; this is, after all, a rattling, old truck. For the sake of integrity, once the images were shot, I put all the bolts back into the fender skit/fender holes.

Support 6

With the radiator and radiator support removed, I have direct access to the front of the engine.  That will give a little more space to work as I go to work on hoses and wiring.

Support 8



Step 3a: Remove Radiator

I am back again, tired of writing on the book and needing a break.  If I am to reach my goal of having the engine rebuilt by the time school starts in the fall I have to get serious about pulling the engine from Green for a rebuild.

The service manual stated that the first order of business is to remove the radiator.  Actually, it says the first step is to drain the fluids; the second is to unbolt and remove the hood, but I don’t have anywhere to store it right now, so I plan to work under it until whatever else can be done first is done.  When the engine is ready to lift, then it will come off.

So this starts with step 3 (and I’ll number things to follow the service manual).  Thankfully removing a radiator is a simple function. Unfortunately, because this is such a straightforward job there isn’t much interesting that can be said about the process.

Rad 1

The radiator in place.

Obviously the first step is to remove the upper and lower hoses.  Hose clamps are straightforward:  a flat screwdriver loosens the clamp.  That part was simple, but the ends of both hoses have not been moved in quite awhile. Both required a bit of prying to get them off the nipples.

The wiring on Green is absolutely original (and will absolutely be replaced), but even the purest motorhead knows that hoses are almost never original on a vehicle this old.  They take far more punishment from the heating and cooling every time the motor is started than wiring ever does. I was a bit surprised, however, to notice that the lower hose had been replaced rather more recently than I had anticipated.  Beneath the clamp part of the paper label was clearly readable.  Though the hoses will certainly be replaced in the rebuild and these will be tossed, I plan to hold onto everything until I finish, just in case I need to consult “how did they do that” on something.

The radiator is secured to the back of the radiator frame by three bolts up either side.  The frame is a welded and bent C-channel.  The bolts pass through the flange on the radiator and into square nuts that sit in a socket that wraps around the sides which in turn seems to be welded to the frame.  I forgot to photograph those, but I get the impression that one could pry the folded steel leaves from around the nuts and pull them out; perhaps it was to simplify replacement if the threads stripped.

The bolts thread through from the engine compartment.  They are identical on both sides so only one is shown here.  They were not seized at all, though they undoubtedly have not been removed since the original 216ci motor was replaced, some time after 1955.

Rad 9

Though they were not hard to remove and would have gone back in place with a bit of effort, I still gave the threads of each bolt a good brushing with a brass brush, then a quick coating of WD-40 as an anti-rust, anti-corrosion treatment.  Here are a pair of before and after shots of one bolt, though frankly it doesn’t show much.

I was a bit surprised to find that the bolts were mismatched.  The one in this image is probably original, with an integrated washer cast onto the head.  At least two of the bolts were just . . . bolts, with regular washers.

It was impossible to photograph myself while lifting the radiator, so you’ll have to trust me that I did it all by myself.  I put back the drain plug, though it is clear that the fiber-core freeze plug will eventually have to be replaced.

Rad 8

With the radiator out I could clear out the decades of decomposed detritus that are  in the frame, which is a shallow U.  This is the dust of hay fields, decayed leaves and seeds from the orchard, water from the springs, and who knows what other parts of Hilltop and the farm.  I have to say I got a bit nostalgic as I scooped it out, because I was literally touching my childhood again—not too nostalgic, though; I did toss it.

Rad 12

With the radiator out, it was a simple matter to remove the fan belt.  This, it turns out, had also been replaced at some time in the past.  The original belt configuration was to have one belt drive the fan from the power train, then to have a second belt from the fan drive the generator.   Though there are two channels on the fan pulley, it is clear from the shape and size of the belt that it was driving both the fan and the generator from the drive train.  It is not an optimal arrangement and might explain why it could be so hard to start Green sometimes—the three-corner shape does not have enough contact with the pulley to drive the generator effectively.

Removing the radiator was fairly simple.  Next step is to unbolt and pull the radiator frame.